When it comes to finding that next perfect role, one that will transform your working career, as well as meet the financial expectations you desire – it doesn’t begin and end with your CV!
Now don’t get us wrong, your CV is a vital tool in helping us match your skills and experience with one of our available roles across the cloud and technology sector. It provides the fastest insight when understanding your past, your experience and the roles you’d perform best in.
But what else can you do to make yourself a desirable hire? We’ve put together our top five tips in today’s insight below, pulling on our own experience and learnings as a top talent provider for businesses worldwide.
No.1 - Build your brand!
When people hear the word ‘brand’, they tend to immediately think of vast companies like Google, Microsoft, Nike and so on. They’re drawn to these brands due to the years of growth, visibility of products and services, the ‘battering’ of public paid advertisements and the overall image these companies project.
The same rules apply when you consider yourself as a ‘brand’. People will look at you (and the online version of you), and build up a mental image through your own online and public persona, your experience and listed skills and your public comments and engagements across the web.
Sounds a little scary we know, but truth be told, we’re all very quick at identifying whether we like the look of something or someone, just by searching and soaking in the information available online.
So what does that mean for you? Well, whilst being a little scary, we can use this information to change people’s perceptions of ourselves and build our own little brand and persona – making your professional skillset stand out! Employers have processes and safeguards in place to make sure that they hire candidates using an unbiased and equality driven process. But, it certainly doesn’t help to have a little ‘spring clean’ and make sure your internet image is up-to-date and is an accurate representation of you and your work-life.
You’ll find that the other 4 tips below all apply to our top tip of building your own brand. So where’s best to start? We’ve summed up the best route to begin building your brand in the sub-points below:
• Check those touch points
When we talk about touch points, we mean ‘everywhere that you exist online’. Never ‘googled’ yourself? Now is the time!
You’ll want to write down a list or copy and paste all URLs into a document – all the pages where you have a public profile (such as social media networks), public directories, reports, previous blogs or articles.
What you’re looking to do is essentially revitalise all these touch points, updating them as you go. Whether it be:
• Updating profile images if they look dated or pixelated. This is often the first thing people will see when they look for you online. Make it have a strong and professional impact.
• Updating any blurb or ‘about me’ areas, ensuring they accurately reflect you, your experience and your passion. We suggest that you tweak these to match your career aspirations, adding keywords that are relevant to the employers you’re looking to draw the attention of.
• Update your certifications/awards
When applying for a technical or specialist role in the technology/cloud sector, awards, accreditations and certifications play a big part in making your skillset stand out. Employers are actively seeking talented individuals that have the desired experience, specialist knowledge and tenacity to learn. Most will immediately view this area on profiles such as LinkedIn as it allows them to have a fast insight into your specialist background.
No.2 - Invest in your skills
When you’re updating your public listing of awards, skills and accreditations, you may decide that your officially received certifications are lacking in the area you’re looking to specialise in. Now is the perfect time to invest some time and money into getting more recent courses under your belt.
It may be undergoing some short but intensive courses within cloud technology, such as some of the most popular and highly rated Amazon Web Services (AWS) courses. Or perhaps branching into other cloud provider courses such as the GCP platform training list.
And don’t forget, once you’ve signed up, studied, passed and received your certificate – shout about it! 📣
No one will know what specialist training you’ve nailed, the hours of work and study you’ve mastered – unless you’re public about it. To many, this can seem a bit daunting if you’re not used to creating your own posts on social networks. Our advice is always to be as ‘human as possible’ when writing these types of posts. Spend some time thinking about the challenges of the course you’ve just passed and tell your connections/fans/followers how this success will have an impact on your career and area of specialisation. We all love a good, heart felt story (just don’t go overboard).
No.3 - Volunteer
The topic of volunteering often lies in a kind of ‘no man’s land’. People in general are accustomed to seeing friends/colleagues post about charity runs and events, but less about volunteering for specific causes.
For employers however, seeing job seekers who are active in their communities, speaking about how they work with like-minded people to make the lives of others better, can be a very strong signal as to your professional character.
Now we’re not saying you should signup to every volunteering initiative in your area, or commit to a monthlong volunteering stint in a donkey sanctuary in Peru! But why not see what is available and apply to help when you do have a spare hour or afternoon. You could look for local activities with the STEM group, or join a local coding club, helping the younger generation learn about important IT skills.
Listing these on your public profiles, such as the Volunteering section on LinkedIn, provides potential employers a strong impression of your character and ability to help others, perhaps less fortunate than yourself. Make this area prominent on your profile if it’s a cause that’s close to your heart. Thus, in turn, making it a conversation starter for character questions in your next interview.
No.4 - Build your network
Building a professional network can be a simple and organic process, but also one that takes considerable time, practice, finesse and motivation.
We’ll use an example person and job role to help understand a great way to build a professional network that helps, in turn, build your personal brand and image.
Imagine we have a man called James. James is a Solutions Architect, specialising in AWS tools and systems. He’s been a Solutions Architect for around 7 years now, working solely with one AWS Partner (We’ll call them IT Solutions And Co Ltd for the sake of this example).
Now James is a good Solutions Architect. Nice one James! He has great respect from his manager, colleagues, as well as hundreds of clients he’s worked with over the years. He updates his training and certifications regularly, but is not very ‘savy’ or interested in social media and keeping accounts updated.
Because of this, if an employer looked at James and his public profiles, it would look as if James has worked for just one relevant employer, has very few connections or activity with colleagues/clients, and has rarely (or never) posted about a topic which ties in with his professional career. All of these are warning flags when it comes to how James is perceived by an Employer. If it can’t be seen, it’s harder for it to be believed. Headhunting is a term that represents the more modern way of seeking out candidates for new roles, as well as a way to find employers that need assistance in finding the right fit for their teams. Think of CVs as being the ‘old school’ method, still relevant, just not as cool as the more accessible social platform profile listing.
If you’re like James, we recommend you begin setting 30 minutes aside, every day for a week. In this time, you’ll ensure you’re connecting with people you work with, clients that you’ve helped and then move outwards. Look for people who work in the same role as you but perhaps for a different company. If their profile looks interesting or they post about topics in Solution Architecture (for example) that you find interesting, comment and engage with them.
Making these natural connections, expanding out your network and actively engaging with new people (and old), makes you appear as someone who is deeply invested in your career path, has an enabling level of colleagues dispersed over a wide variety of business and all-in-all, makes you look like a strong hire with influence.
No.5 - Self-SWOT analysis
We’re saving the toughest tip until last today. it’s time to get tough (and real) with who you are and what makes you tick. It’s time for the Self-SWOT analysis! 💪
Not sure what SWOT is? We got you. SWOT analysis is most commonly used within business, to look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they face. A business uses SWOTs to analyse the company as a whole, a product/service publicly sold and even on their own employees when looking to change company focus or direction. 😨
You can apply the principle segments of SWOT to you as a person in a similar way. But in order for it to be effective, you have to be very truthful with yourself and look at analysing your own strengths, weaknesses etc as if a potential employer is doing the analysis.
It’s very easy to form an opinion on a person or business, it’s something that you undoubtedly do each and every day, although perhaps sometimes on a more subconscious level. Today you’ll be applying that same level of critical thinking to yourself. If you find it too challenging, a great tip would also be to have someone you know and respect complete the SWOT for you. Here’s how we’d go about it:
• What are you good at? What are your strengths? What makes you a strong hire? Are you a natural born leader, able to converse with peers and higher-ups effortlessly? Do you have very advanced knowledge in a niche, but crucial, element to your role? Take some time to jot down your strengths, being as specific as you can whilst avoiding the ‘go-to’ options (such as being honest, disciplined). What are you honest at? How are you disciplined? You can be disciplined at eating breakfast every day at the same time, it doesn’t make it a strength when in the light of your character as a whole.
• Where are you weakest? Your weaknesses might be your attention to detail when making public facing tutorials or run-books. You may have difficulty conveying your opinions in an open discussion, much preferring to send emails instead. Be critical and apply your weaknesses to what a potential employer would be looking against. You can even include why you think these are your weaknesses. What caused them to appear in the first place?
• Opportunities. This is a fun section when comparing against yourself. You’re looking for uncontrollable events that you can leverage, making you better in your current or future role. Do you have any favourable work trends? Are you positioned in experience to suit a new trend in the sector you work in? Do you have talents and expertise which is currently in demand?
• Last of the areas is Threats. These aren’t swimming with sharks on an upcoming holiday or deciding to tackle an ultra marathon, but instead look at professional factors that may overcome or damage your strengths and opportunities. Is your experience or career choice one that’s under scrutiny within the sector? Is there a new level of emerging competition, making you feel like a bit of a relic? Are there less opportunities for people with your chosen or similar skillset? Again, as with all the areas above, you have to be very honest in your responses as you write these out. They’ll be helpful, we promise!
Now you have completed your SWOT analysis, we’ll have to figure out how to make this information useful to you (rather than just a very honest summary). We’d begin with trying to transform weakness into strengths and then strengths into opportunities. Try and formulate a plan or 3 month strategy that will help you in your goals to better yourself. Use this plan to improve your confidence, as you begin to look transparently at how an employer could see you.
If you’ve made it to the end and picked up some good ideas to help you market yourself, you’ve already made a significant step in transforming your own brand and marketable image. Well done!
If you need a hand with pushing through and finding the role made for you, why not get in touch with the Fetcha team. Our experts work exclusively to find you a position that matches with your current level of experience and aspiration. Reach out today.